Hamilton school district uses lockdown plan for second time in 2 days

Butler County school districts have lockdown procedures in place, and Hamilton Schools has needed those plans twice in the first two days of the new school year.

Hamilton’s Ridgeway Elementary, 267 Wasserman Road, was placed on lockdown briefly Tuesday morning after a blown electrical transformer in the area.

“A transformer blew out in that area around 9:15 a.m. and school officials heard a noise and decided to place the building on lockdown,” district spokeswoman Joni Copas told this newspaper.

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Ridgeway Elementary was on lockdown for 15 to 20 minutes, she said.

“These days our personnel, principals and staff work together to make sure our students are safe,” Copas said. “The student resource officer was notified and the decision was made to do that (lockdown).”

Officials in Hamilton, Middletown, Lakota and Fairfield school districts said a mix of communications tools is used to inform parents about emergencies, including lockdowns.

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“We have a rapid notification calling system that is used in case of an emergency, for school closures, delays and for other purposes. In the event of a lockdown, we follow safety protocols and guidance from law enforcement,” Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for Fairfield City Schools said.

On Monday morning, during the first day back to classes for Hamilton Schools students, Fairwood Elementary and Garfield Middle School were placed on lockdown for about 15 minutes after what turned out to be an unfounded report of a shooting in the area.

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Some guardians and parents claimed they were not notified about Monday’s lockdown.

“We didn’t get a phone call and we have five grandkids — two at Fairwood and three at Garfield — and we never got a call,” said grandparent Lisa Lawson. “I learned about it on Facebook after a friend tagged me on a post from the Journal-News. Our grandchildren are walkers and the three oldest were on their way to Garfield when this was going on.”

Copas said Hamilton uses a mix of tools to inform parents, but there is always room for growth.

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“We had a student that was non-verbal and wasn’t able to get the correct information when there was announcements over the PA system so we had to adjust,” she said. “We find out ways to improve all the time.”

She added that depending on the severity of the situation, the school district will determine the best way to transmit information to parents and guardians.

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